Settlement founder Lillian Wald believed that expose to the arts and opportunities for creative expression were as essential as health care and education. From its inception, Henry Street provided instruction in the arts and well-regarded performances. The Settlement’s Theaters, which opened in 1915, was (and is today) on the cutting edge of avant garde theater in New York.
Some of the most influential artists of the 20th century have taught, trained and/or performed at Henry Street. Eugene O'Neill, Robert Browning, Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Fred Astaire, George Gershwin, Igor Stravinsky, Dizzy Gillespie, and Eartha Kitt are but a few of the artists and performers who have passed through Henry Street's doors